Face towards the ground, I watch my feet move forward and peek out from beneath my long, large print, pink and orange floral dress. This is not a flashy dress by any means except for the bright color. This is a feminine dress, perhaps one that some would see as too young for woman of 52, or one wearing stereotypical middle-aged girth. I really cannot care less and firmly believe that that kind of thinking has no place in this world.
As I walk through the breezeway between the parking garage my thoughts are deeply on two of my children. (The above thoughts were considered earlier.) Our son has just received a kidney. He received a kidney from one of our daughters, Caroline. Thankful and filled with gratitude, we still remain guarded. After two days of phenomenally good numbers, we are seeing a change. Though his sister is faring well, he is seeing not progress but regression in terms of kidney function.
Blood counts are lower than is desired. Creatinine, THE kidney function marker, is very elevated. He is pale due to anemia. He is weaker than expected after the transplant. His blood pressures are extremely high. It is desired that they be elevated to adequately profuse his sister’s kidney now at home in him, but not to the extremes we are reading.
I do not write essays, record my memories, these occurrences, as complaints. I recognize and write of them so others will again realize that they are not alone in these experiences. I write of my experiences and of those within my family to pass on hope. I write to see a added measure of desire within others to help people who could use an ear, a hand to hold, a few written words of kindness. It is worthwhile to hear of other’s difficulties. It is necessary to see the trials of others. Doing so gives perspective; it is regained if lost. Doing so can find one focusing on the genuinely important issues of living, namely family, spirituality (whatever that may mean to each), health (physical and mental), growth of mind and thoughtful learning, kindness and hope, with which one can find peace through any and all the tough realities of passing through this time here.
As I hurry through the breezeway, I do notice a pattern on the ground. The sun has found its way through separations between buildings and left bright areas and shadows on the tar below my swollen, achy feet. Lattice work shadows are etched on tar with shadowed leaves, leaves that have woven their way through whitewashed woodwork. Ben is waiting in the lab draw area.
Nerves are often on edge at this time. Measurements of creatinine, electrolytes, of any protein in urine, the red blood cell count, the white blood cell count, hematocrit, hemoglobin and platelets, amongst other measures, are our focus. Any subtle movement in numbers might signal a trend in a positive or negative direction of the fine workings of his sister’s kidney within him.
It is a tedious time. One for which we will be forever grateful, though this moment is not showing us the results we expected to see. We remain hopeful. For besides following medical instructions and learning the percentages of overcoming these issues to assuage our worries somehow, this is what we have ~ hope. Expressing that hope can transfer it to others, other family members, friends, doctors and more importantly the patient. Having hope is necessary to heal. Though truths are told, not disguised, and days hold positives and negatives, hope must be gripped tightly. Sometimes holding on to hope is a significant factor in a positive turn. Ben embodies this; he owns natural possession of this, of hope. He does so without his own recognition. May he and each of my children continue to grip it tightly.
These words were written during his transplant – acute phase. This, in my understanding, is the time period from actual transplant to a stable functioning kidney in its new body. The surgeries took place on June 19th, 2013 and the date of this posting is July 29th of the same year. Much more transpired in the month following the surgeries upon both children. That story is for another time. I wanted to point to hope; though worried, we held onto it. Ben is doing quite well now. He now is the guardian of his sister Caroline’s generous and loving gift, her kidney and a normal life, whatever that life might have in store for him and whatever he might have in store for it. The news this past weekend, of a creatinine of 1.2 and nearly perfect numbers throughout the remainder of his labs, has given the entire family a new beginning. This beginning will be overrun with light, much love and a healthy peace which comes with hope and strength.